Montana State University

About NTEN

The National Teachers Enhancement Network (NTEN) is one of the country's most-established online professional development programs for teachers. Courses are designed to help elementary, secondary and community college teachers develop a deeper understanding of science concepts while interacting with and learning new techniques from other teachers and researchers around the globe.

NTEN faculty are university scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and science educators, all experienced in online teaching. Through NTEN, educators can also access professional resources and discuss issues with other educators online. NTEN was created by Montana State University and originally funded by the National Science Foundation. NTEN is also part of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Institute.

How is NTEN different from other online science programs?

  • NTEN strives to teach science concepts, not just educational methods
  • NTEN faculty practice a hands-on, inquiry-based style that mirrors the classroom and sparks new ideas
  • NTEN facilitates connections among participants, so that teachers learn best practices from colleagues around the world
  • NTEN credits come from Montana State University, a top-tier public research institution.
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About MSU + About Extended University + What students say about NTEN + External evaluations + No Child Left Behind + FAQs

About Montana State University

Montana State University is a doctoral-granting land-grant university located in Bozeman, Montana. It is classified in the top tier of U.S. research universities by the Carnegie Association for the Advancement of Teaching, along with Yale, Harvard, Johns Hopkins and other prominent institutions. Agriculture, physics, chemistry, microbiology and engineering attract the bulk of MSU's research grants. MSU is also known for its work in western history, Native American studies, architecture, and media and theatre arts. A number of faculty and students travel regularly to field sites in neighboring Yellowstone National Park. Recent new programs include paleontology, equine science and snow science.

Montana State University is known for its cutting-edge research and commitment to hands-on active learning.

More about MSU

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MSU Extended University and the Burns Technology Center

NTEN was developed by Extended University's Burns Technology Center, which studies how innovative technologies can enhance teaching and learning; build partnerships between MSU and public/private organizations; and better share MSU's resources through public outreach.

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What students say about NTEN

Since its inception in 1993, more than 12,000 teachers from all 50 states and many foreign countries have taken NTEN courses. Here are some of their comments:

"The interaction and discussion was as good as with most face-to-face courses that I have taken. The opportunity to assemble a student body from across the country was incredible, and the instructors made good use of sites, tools and resources that are available in the Internet and VERY much enhanced the course experience with those materials."

"These classes broke the mold. Physics of Sound, particularly, was true guided inquiry. The instructor seemed to always be there with additional questions, prodding, support, etc. The instructor and my colleagues made me stretch and reach beyond what I think I would have done on my own. True learning occurred."

When I first started taking [courses], it was really just because I was interested in the subject and was hoping I could learn more and maybe be able to apply something to the classroom. And frankly I'm amazed at how much I could transfer. It was a lot more than I ever expected…Definitely, it's been worthwhile."

"Their customer service aspects were great. When you called into the office and talked to the administrative staff, they were wonderful. They were good troubleshooters. They researched your questions and they got back to you. So that was very good."

"The course was way, way above what I could ever give to my kids but it gave me the knowledge to be comfortable with the material I had to present to the kids. I wasn't on their same academic level. I was superior to them. I knew more than them based upon [my NTEN-gained knowledge] and it made me comfortable."

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External evaluations

Since its inception and initial National Science Foundation funding, NTEN has been externally evaluated by Horizon Research of Chapel Hill, N.C. Horizon has focused on course-level impacts, gauging the quality and impact of courses each semester, evaluating participants' feelings of preparedness to teach the subject matter of the course in which they're enrolled, and on participants' perceptions of the content knowledge they gain.

NTEN is strikingly successful in terms of completion rates (over 90%), the benefit perceived by participants, and the degree of learning reported. Participants consistently report that NTEN courses are a refreshing change from the more "typical" professional development experiences, and that they feel better prepared to teach the course content upon completion. In addition participants report that they seek out opportunities to meet one another face-to-face at professional regional and national events.

Read the full "Participant Satisfaction" report (264 KB, PDF) and the "Cumulative Impact" report (284 KB, PDF).

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No Child Left Behind

NTEN courses can help teachers fulfill the requirements of the No Child Left Behind act by helping them become highly qualified in specific science content areas. The requirements for becoming "highly qualified" will vary by state and school district.

Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT)--This is the term No Child Left Behind uses for a teacher who proves that he or she knows the subjects he or she is teaching, has a college degree, and is state-certified. No Child Left Behind requires that a child be taught by a Highly Qualified Teacher in core academic subjects.

Read more about Teacher Quality from the U.S. Department of Education

Read a No Child Left Behind fact sheet for parents from the U.S. Department of Education

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